Wildcats Down Georgia in Three
ATHENS, Ga. – The University of Kentucky swept the season series with Georgia today, Nov. 12, taking a 3-0 decision (30-11, 30-17, 30-26) over the Bulldogs in Athens. The Wildcats improve to 17-9 on the year with a 10-8 mark in Southeastern Conference play, while UGA falls to 6-22 overall with a 2-16 record in league play.
Queen Nzenwa led the Wildcats with a match-high 13 kills while hitting .750, to go along with six blocks. Sarah Rumely added 36 assists, five blocks and five service aces – one shy of her career high. Senior Jenni Casper had a match-high 10 digs, while junior Nicole Britenriker finished with eight digs, seven kills and five total blocks. Sophomore Ashlee Fisher added 10 kills and three digs, while freshman Heather Hausfeld recorded sixkills and a pair of blocks in the Wildcat win.
The Wildcats dominated in game one and opened with a 6-1 run capped by kills by Rumely and Fisher to force the Bulldogs to call their first timeout of the match. UGA scored two points out of the break, but Cats mounted a 5-1 run to take an 11-4 lead after a kill by Natalie Marsh. Kentucky pushed its lead to 10, 15-5, after back-to-back putdowns by Nzenwa and Britenriker to cause the Dawgs to call their final timeout of the game.
The Wildcats continued their run and scored seven unanswered to take an 18-5 lead before the Bulldogs stopped the bleeding on a Kentucky service error. UGA pulled to within 11 at 18-7, but the Wildcats answered with a pair of kills by Hausfeld and two block assists by Nznewa, Hausfeld and Rumely to push its lead to 16 at 23-7. Kentucky outscored the Bulldogs 7-4 the rest of the way to take game one by a final of 30-11.
Kentucky continued its strong play in game two. Nzenwa had three kills in the early run, while Rumely added two points for the Cats on back-to-back service aces as the Wildcats jumped out to an early 9-3 lead prompting the Bulldogs to once again use an early timeout to regroup. Kentucky increased its lead to eight after a kill by Hausfeld and an ace by Casper to make it a 14-6 Wildcat lead. A kill by Rumely and her third service ace of the game helped the Cats make it a 10-point lead at 18-8 and resulted in another Georgia timeout.
The Bulldogs cut the lead to eight, 19-11, after a kill and a UK hitting error but the Cats quickly pushed the lead back to nine, 22-13, after a pair of kills by Hausfeld and a putdown by Britenriker. Kentucky led 25-14 after a powerful kill by Fisher when the Bulldogs scored three straight to cut the lead to eight at 25-17. The Wildcats answered by scoring five straight on two consecutive kills by Fisher, a block by Fisher and Nzenwa and a powerful kill on the angle by Nzenwa. A Georgia ball handling error ended the game with the Cats taking game two by a final of 30-17.
The conference foes played evenly in the early goings of game three with the ninth tie of the game coming at 10-10. Kentucky scored three straight on a kill by Nzenwa down the middle and Rumely’s fifth ace of the game, followed by a Georgia hitting error to take a 12-10 lead. A Bulldog kill made it a one-point Kentucky lead, 12-11, before the Cats scored three straight on a kill by Fisher and two consecutive Georgia hitting errors to make it 15-11 and cause the Dawgs to call for time. UGA scored three straight points out of the break to pull within one, 15-14, before kills by Britenriker and Marsh helped put the Cats back on top by three at 18-15.
Georgia would cut the lead to one at 20-19 but the Cats put together a 4-2 run capped by a kill by Melissa Popp to take a four-point lead at 25-21 and force another Georgia timeout. A block assist by Britenriker and Marsh made it a 26-21 Kentucky lead but the Bulldogs would not back down. UGA cut the lead to three at 27-24 but a pair of kills by Rumely and a putdown by Popp gave the Cats a 30-26 win as they swept the season series with the Bulldogs.
The Wildcats return to action Friday, Nov. 17, when they host Auburn in their final regular season home match of the year. Seniors Jenni Casper, Julie Gagnon and Melissa Popp will all play their final home match for the blue and white beginning at 7 p.m. in Memorial Coliseum.